July 18, 2009 12:04:51 am
With the Asian Youth Softball Championships tentatively marked for December this year,the Softball Association of India is leaving no stone unturned in scouting for a suitable location in the Capital to host the event. As all locations within the city are under construction or renovation for the Commonwealth Games in 2010,the organisers are forced to find a venue in the outskirts of Delhi.
Excited about the prospect of hosting the championships in Delhi for the first time,Praveen Anaokar,secretary general,Softball Association of India is also uneasy about the situation.
We have zeroed in on the Palam and Dwarka area. But nothing is certain till the Asian Softball Confederation send a delegation to mark their approval, he told Sportline,adding,The delegation is expected to arrive within the next two weeks. We are working hard to meet the deadlines.
With about a dozen Asian teams participating in the under-19 edition in December,Anaokar believes that India stands a good chance to win the event. We finished runners-up in the 1998 edition in Chennai,and we have always done well in softball. So you never know,maybe we could win it this time.
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Although softball is not a popular sport in India,the country has previously hosted two Asian Softball Championships in the past,at Chennai and Aurangabad. Anaokar claims the game has a future with the masses if it is promoted well. Softball is exactly like baseball,but the pitcher throws the ball underarm. It is an Olympic medal sport and Asian countries dominate the proceedings, explains Anaokar.
Anaokar says he has made several requests in the past to former sports ministers and IOA chief Suresh Kalmadi,to make softball a regular event at the National Games. It is being played at the Asian Games and the Olympics. How can a sport get popular in India if it isnt played at the National Games?
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